Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Three

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Parts One and Two of this series introduced a major Figure in world history, Bahá’u’lláh. They indicated His major conceptions of human nature as well as the idea of progressive spiritual evolution—not just of individuals but of the entire human family—stages of infancy, youth, adolescence, and adulthood—showing that humanity is now leaving its turbulent adolescence and entering the inevitable stage of maturity.

As hard as it may be to grasp the idea that humanity is approaching a sane, mature, rational, and peaceful consummation of its often tragic and certainly painful growing-up, the document that spawned these posts, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century,  gives compelling evidence of a new direction, a new mandate in human affairs. The fact that most of the evidence of this growth into human maturity occurred in the twentieth century—an evolutionarily short time—is as significant as each of the signs of impending global sanity and the much prophesied peace and tranquillity of all peoples.

I think it’s extremely important to focus on what has  been accomplished by humanity in its suffering struggle to establish a mature, peaceful world. Certainly, this attitude of positivity will do far more to help the process than the quite common attempt to belittle efforts that haven’t yet blossomed into efficient operation—like slapping a child who’s learning to walk when it falls down because it isn’t doing it right yet . . .

The major learning of humanity in this phase of its growth is Unity.

Some say that we won’t have unity till we have peace. Bahá’u’lláh makes it indelibly clear that peace will not be possible until unity is established. Here are two quotes from the document:

“The central spiritual issue facing all people, Bahá’u’lláh says, whatever their nation, religion, or ethnic origin, is that of laying the foundations of a global society that can reflect the oneness of human nature.”

“The unification of the earth’s inhabitants is neither a remote utopian vision nor, ultimately, a matter of choice. It constitutes the next, inescapable stage in the process of social evolution, a stage toward which all the experience of past and present is impelling us.”

This is an extremely important document so I’ve also provided a Word .doc and Adobe .pdf file for download.

Here’s a list of some of the most important changes in humanity’s focus, begun in the twentieth century and, sad to say,  too often slapped down in people’s discussions, well before humanity has had a chance to learn to walk confidently down their pathways:

* The United Nations as a global peace-building organization

* The wide-spread shame at the perversities of the second world war which led to a multitude of non-governmental, humanitarian organizations which consult with the U.N.

* The systems of financial control, reserve funds, and trade regulations instituted after the Great Depression which may  instruct current leaders in the proper steps to avoid having it happen again

* Global programs aiming to establish universal education and the Internet—a tool which can accomplish that goal

* Technological and scientific inventions reaching heights that have made any insane acts by people or nations instantly visible to the rest of humanity (before 1900, it was relatively easy to commit atrocious acts then argue them out of existence)

* The universal awareness of the equality of women as well as the racial components of our human family, though yet to be implemented universally

* The growing awareness that poverty is not a necessary feature of human life

* The wide-spread, though inadequately enforced, conception of the unity of the world’s religions

And, summing-up these never-before-seen phenomena  of collective human action, the document quotes Bahá’u’lláh’s prophetic utterance:

“A new life is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth; and yet none hath discovered its cause or perceived its motive.”

That statement was written over 140 years ago. There are a growing body of people discovering its cause and learning how to perceive its motive . . .

Spiritual Quote :

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. The One true God, He Who knoweth all things, Himself testifieth to the truth of these words.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 14

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Two

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Part One of this series talked about two governments and their differing responses to the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh.

The Chamber of Deputies of the Brazilian government held a special session honoring Him and His Writings. The Iranian government has been trying to eliminate every trace of His existence…

I’m being guided in my writing of this series of posts by a document from the Bahá’í International Community: Who Is Writing the Future?.

If you’d like to have the document available while reading these posts, here are a Word .doc and Adobe .pdf file for download.

This post will focus on the ideas of part one of the document where the main thrust of Bahá’u’lláh’s Message is introduced. One of His principles, honored or despised depending on your world-view, is that humans and humanity are primarily spiritual in nature and the evolution of civilization is predominantly a spiritual, not  material, process.

So, what about the common view that we evolved from apes who, somehow, became smart enough to start using tools and ended up building malls and spaceships?

Even for someone like me, drawn to study the sciences deeply, the idea of a blind progression from apes to spaceships doesn’t cut it—can’t even begin to account for things like the sacrifice a mother will make for her child or the otherworldly strength of religious martyrs.

There is a Pattern and Progression in an individual life and the life of our human family that can evoke a search for Meaning that transcends what the materialists and skeptics would have you believe.

In fact, Bahá’u’lláh claims that the progressive pattern of infancy, youth, adolescence, and maturity that individuals live through is meaningfully similar to what our human family has been experiencing. He claims that the stages up to maturity have already been experienced by humanity and we are embarking on our long-envisioned maturity—the merging of humanity into a truly global and adult entity—a state of earthly being prophesied by all the major world religions.

Sure doesn’t seem like humanity is growing into adulthood, eh? What about all the wars, greed, and other nastiness? Well, in this view of humanity’s growth, we’re in the last stages of adolescence, facing our traumatic entrance into the realm of adult responsibilities. Remember when all you wanted to do was break the rules, set your own agenda, get what You  wanted and to hell with all those other people who didn’t really understand you? I know some of you may not have faced adulthood with urgent rebelliousness but many can identify with such a phase…

How much pain and suffering does it take for an adolescent to submit to the Truth and moderate their behavior—begin to see other people as more like oneself than different, reach a consciousness of unity with others? How long will it take humanity to learn these lessons and stride into its inevitable adulthood…?

Spiritual Quote :

“A new chapter in the life of the planet has been opened. Humanity has attained its maturity, and the race consciousness has awakened to the fact that it must put away the childish things which seemed necessary in the day of the ‘survival of the fittest’. This day ‘wherein the feet of the people deviate’ is to be followed by a glorious to-morrow; for—’This is a new cycle of human power’. All the horizons of the world are luminous and the world will become indeed as a garden and a paradise. It is the hour of unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes.

“The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and the fundamental oneness of religion. War shall cease between the nations and by the will of God the most great peace shall come; the world will be seen as a new world and all men will live as brothers.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 12

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What’s The Use of Sacrificing ?

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Ever wanted to sacrifice yourself?

I can hear someone saying, Why in hell would anyone want to do that?

Our current world culture permits some to have the feeling they never have to give up anything while forcing millions into a state of perpetual sacrifice.

What’s the solution?

From Y Net News: Arab driver who ignited Akko riots ‘ready to sacrifice himself’

From Fair Investment Company: Scots sacrifice savings accounts to pay off debts, finds Lloyds TSB

From Daily News Central: Don’t Sacrifice Health to Stay Afloat in Tough Times

What’s really gained by never sacrificing?

What if mothers and fathers don’t sacrifice for their children?

What if politicians don’t sacrifice for their constituents?

What if the rich don’t sacrifice for the poor?

Time for a definition. “Sacrifice” has a root meaning derived from “sacred”—to make holy. It’s highest meaning is to give up something lesser for something greater.

Current culture seems to short-change most everything, even word meanings. Sacrifice has come to mean merely loss—giving up and not getting in return.

Naturally, if one is too egotistical, it’s very difficult to see what can be gained by sacrificing; but, one thing definitely acquired is growth.

The best example I can think of is the growth each of us has experienced in our journey through life on the Earth.

The first thing sacrificed is the womb. Next is mother’s milk. Then comes the loss of security in the shelter of home through introduction to the wider world. Each grade of school sees the sacrifice of limited understanding for an ever-growing fund of knowledge. Each love lost has the power to enlarge the heart. Every opportunity closed off opens new paths…

Even Life itself is lost with the rebirth of death—believed by some as new life in the ineffable Worlds of God.

Spiritual Quotes:

“Our greatest longing is that truth may be established in the world, and in this hope we draw near to one another in love and affection. Each and all are whole-hearted and selfless, willing to sacrifice all personal ambition to the grand ideal towards which they strive: Brotherly love and peace and union among men!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 100

“He bore hardships, he lived through misfortunes, he suffered afflictions. From the lips of the Manifestation he heard marvelous things. He was shown the lights of Paradise; he won his dearest wish. And at the end, when the Daystar of the world had set, he could endure no more, and flung himself into the sea. The waters of sacrifice closed over him; he was drowned, and he came, at last, to the Most High.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 35

“Know thou that when the Son of Man [Jesus] yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive, and resplendent Spirit.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 85

“Ponder that which befell Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, may the life of all else be a sacrifice unto Him. How severe the afflictions which the leaders of the Jewish people and of the idol-worshipers caused to rain upon Him, Who is the sovereign Lord of all, in consequence of His proclamation of the unity of God and of the truth of His Message! By the righteousness of My Cause! My Pen groaneth, and all created things weep with a great weeping, as a result of the woes He suffered at the hands of them that have broken the Covenant of God, violated His Testament, rejected His proofs, and disputed His signs. Thus recount We unto thee the tale of that which happened in days past, haply thou mayest comprehend.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 57

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“…the wine of certitude…”

There are so many opinions about how to know what God wants for us (and, this is one of them…).

Of course, God’s Wishes are not a matter of opinion.

Anyone who tells you they know what God wants for your life should be treated kindly but certainly not believed automatically.

Our soul’s growth is too important to entrust to human care…

“…they that tread the path of faith, they that thirst for the wine of certitude, must cleanse themselves of all that is earthly — their ears from idle talk, their minds from vain imaginings, their hearts from worldly affections, their eyes from that which perisheth. They should put their trust in God, and, holding fast unto Him, follow in His way. Then will they be made worthy of the effulgent glories of the sun of divine knowledge and understanding, and become the recipients of a grace that is infinite and unseen, inasmuch as man can never hope to attain unto the knowledge of the All-Glorious, can never quaff from the stream of divine knowledge and wisdom, can never enter the abode of immortality, nor partake of the cup of divine nearness and favour, unless and until he ceases to regard the words and deeds of mortal men as a standard for the true understanding and recognition of God and His Prophets.”

Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 3-4

~~~~~~~~~
~ Unleash The Life Within ~
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Perfectionism . . .

My father was obsessive about doing things “right”. I think quite a bit of my rebelliousness from 18 to 42 was stimulated by the primal urge to break the hold of my father’s perfectionism. He was so right in a multitude of details and processes yet so wrong in the wide and deep arena of simple humanity…

As a writer, I’ve long since realized that my eyes and brain need help (other eyes or computer programs) to rid my words of flaw and imprecision. I also indulge in the sub-domain of poetry: here is where the perfect phrase breaks the rules and the clearest statements drip with emotion…

Various blockages to creativity and productivity begin with statements like: “I’d better wait till I know for sure.” or “Maybe they won’t like it this way.” or “I don’t think I can get away with it.” Certainly we need to be aware of all the pertinent facts before acting. We need to consider the effect of our actions on others and act with honesty.

Still, perfectionism can take the most common common sense and warp it into uncommon hindrances.

Life isn’t black and white, either/or, cut and dried.

It’s infinite shades of grey with colorful glows swirling inside. It’s both/and. it’s alive and kicking!

Human growth is a process, not a set of rigid rules. If Perfectionism was the Rule, Forgiveness would not exist . . .

“All beings, whether large or small, were created perfect and complete from the first, but their perfections appear in them by degrees. The organization of God is one; the evolution of existence is one; the divine system is one. Whether they be small or great beings, all are subject to one law and system. Each seed has in it from the first all the vegetable perfections. For example, in the seed all the vegetable perfections exist from the beginning, but not visibly; afterward little by little they appear. So it is first the shoot which appears from the seed, then the branches, leaves, blossoms and fruits; but from the beginning of its existence all these things are in the seed, potentially, though not apparently.

“In the same way, the embryo possesses from the first all perfections, such as the spirit, the mind, the sight, the smell, the taste — in one word, all the powers — but they are not visible and become so only by degrees.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 198

Beaten Paths

I’ve tried many beaten paths and could recommend one or two. Still, the real adventure and growth come from walking off the path.

Flowers don’t grow well on beaten paths; neither do mysteries and heart-felt dreams.

The real secret for deep growth is to walk off the path into the night . . .

~~~

Then, there is The Path.

“Verily, the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, unto the Crimson Pillar in the snow-white path, will never reach unto his heavenly goal unless he abandoneth all that men possess: ‘And if he feareth not God, God will make him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God.'”

Bahá’u’lláh, The Four Valleys, p. 58

Seems we’re given great Gifts when we submit to God . . .